Three youths were held on Wednesday for "gang-raping" two schoolgirls in Panchagarh's Tetulia amid the widespread protests and announcement of the death penalty for sexual assault against women.
The victims' fathers filed two cases over the incident accusing five people.
"Three accused – Omar Faruk Imon, 26, Md Sohag, 22, and Anowar Hossain, 26 – have been arrested so far. We are trying to nab the other two, Officer-in-Charge of Tetulia Model Police Station Md Jahurul Islam said.
The girls went with Anowar to Tetulia on Tuesday to visit some places. At the end of the day, the three accused took the teenagers to the house of some Abbas Ali. This where the five accused gang-raped the teenagers.
The youths fled as the girls fell sick. The teenagers' family members rescued them in the dead of night on that day and informed the police, sources said.
The victims were sent to Adhunik Sadar Hospital in Panchagarh for medical tests, police said.
Rape in Bangladesh
Sexual harassment has turned out to be the most dangerous menace in the country in recent days due to various reasons, including a culture of impunity and moral degradation.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), 975 women were raped, 208 of whom were subjected to gang-rape, from January to September 30 this year.
Of them, 45 were killed after rape and 12 others killed themselves.
ASK also said, 161 women were subjected to sexual harassment and 12 of them took their own lives during the period.
Three women and nine men were killed for protesting the incidents of sexual harassment, it added.
Also, 627 children were raped and 20 boys were molested while 21 women fell victims to acid attacks.
Death for rape
The much-talked-about Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in Parliament on November 17 for ensuring the death penalty as the highest punishment for the crime of rape.
The bill was amended to incorporate death penalty as the maximum punishment in rape cases.
In the proposed law, the punishment for rape is the death penalty or life imprisonment.
According to Article 9 (1) of the existing Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000, the punishment for rape is life imprisonment.
This was earlier promulgated through an ordinance on October 13 as the parliament was not in session, in the face of populist demands to ensure the death penalty for rapists.
As per the legal obligation, the ordinance was placed in the parliament for its approval by Law Minister Anisul Huq.
The ordinance was issued following waves of anti-rape demonstrations across Bangladesh after a series of heinous rapes, most notably the gang rape of a housewife in Noakhali's Begumganj upazila, which was videoed by the perpetrators and later the video turned up on the internet, which went viral.
The incident occurred at Joykrishnapur village under Eklashpur union of the upazila on September 2.